Egypt, Sudan Seek Global Mediation in Ethiopian Dam Talks

Egypt and Sudan on Tuesday warned anew against any unilateral move by Ethiopia in filling its Nile River dam and urged more outside support to revive negotiations.

Describing Ethiopia’s decision to move forward with a second phase of filling the Renaissance Dam as a clear violation of earlier agreements, the foreign ministers of Egypt and Sudan called on the United Nations, European Union and the U.S. to agree to a proposal that they help mediate talks under the stewardship of Democratic Republic of Congo President Felix Tshisekedi, the current head of the African Union.

In a joint press conference in Cairo, the two ministers voiced optimism about restarting the talks, but also warned of the outcome if an equitable and legally binding agreement wasn’t reached.

Talks and unilateral action with regard to the dam can’t occur simultaneously, Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said. His Sudanese counterpart, Mariam al-Mahdi, warned that the dispute over the dam can’t be allowed to escalate and take the region in the wrong direction. At the same time, she said “a time limit” must be set for any negotiations.

The second stage of filling the dam jeopardizes the welfare of 20 million Sudanese, threatening them with “thirst,” she said.

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